When it comes to temperamental plants Gardenia’s are in a class all their own. These beautiful plants can take your breath away when in full bloom but getting them there can be like walking a tightrope, ensuring their conditions are perfect.
The beauty of gardenias is not only their flowers but also the magnificent fragrance they release during flowering. If you are blessed to have a mature plant near an outdoor area, then sitting near it on a summers evening can only be described as heavenly. Their scent can be strong but not overpowering and the fragrance will just waft in the breeze.
So, let’s imagine that you’ve just picked up your first gardenia plant at the nursery. It’s full of buds and promises so much for the upcoming season. You take it home and plant it correctly only to find the buds have almost completely dropped off and the chances of seeing a bloom have disappeared quicker than a fishing trawler in the Bermuda Triangle.
Gardenia Care Tips
Here are some tips to take care of your new gardenia plant and keep it flowering ever season.
- Plant positioning Gardenia’s originated from China where they would have had warm summers and mild winters. This plant is frost hardy but prefers a location where they can receive full-sun to part (or dappled) shade. They will struggle with limited sunlight.
They prefer a consistent temperature of about 20-23C (73F) during the days.
- Watering this is the temperamental part. Overwater gardenias and they’ll struggle – underwater them and they will too. How do you get the watering just right? Water them regularly. At least a good soaking every 2nd day in the summer months making sure that the soil around their base isn’t drying out on the off watering day or that it’s remaining too wet. Moist is good.
They love humid conditions so providing a good mulch around their base will help create this environment. (Note: if you do mulch them then the watering requirements will reduce.)
- Fertilising Gardenia’s love acidic fertilisers. Feed these plants at the start of spring and then again in summer. Never feed them in autumn as this will produce tender shoots that will struggle over the winter months.
- Pruning These plants won’t require much pruning but may need a slight clip if they become leggy in appearance. It is best to do this after the plant has finished flowering.
Photo source: abbynormy